‘The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1’ Review
The first part of the final installment of “The Hunger Games” came out this week, and while it starts off slow it sets up the big events of the second part up perfectly. Spoilers ahead.
The last “Hunger Games” film left us with Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) destroying the arena of the Quarter Quell. She didn’t exactly know what she was doing, and that she was unknowingly helping the ever growing rebels, who call District 13 home.
We pick up with Everdeen in District 13, and she is recovering from the events of the last Hunger Games. Both her and Finnick Odair are mentally unstable, and the medical personnel of 13 are attempting to help them through what can best be described as PTSD. Along with Katniss and Finnick are former gamemaker Plutarch Heavensbee, who turned out to be conducting the games as a rebel spy , Beetee, who was also rescued from the arena, Haymitch and Gale. Gale also managed to get Katniss’ mother and sister Prim out before the Capital bombed District 12 into nothing but rubble.
Unlike in the book, Effie Trinket is also in District 13. I have no problem with this change, especially since Elizabeth Banks plays the part so well. It just makes sense for the movie.
Plutarch is working with President Coin, the leader of District 13 who is played by Jullianne Moore. They’re goal is to make Katniss the face of their rebellion. However Katniss wants nothing to do with it. That’s mainly because they left Peeta behind in the arena. He’s currently being held captive by President Snow, and is being used as his puppet to quiet the rebellion. Johanna Mason is also being held by the Capitol and so is Annie, Finnick’s love interest.
The people of the Capitol and Panem see the victors as celebrities, and will listen to them. By Snow having Peeta broadcast messages that urge people to stop fighting it hurts the rebel cause.
Throughout the film Katniss is made aware of all of the destruction that has taken place since she ended the games in the previous film. The reluctant rebel is drawn into this cause after seeing that countless numbers of innocent lives have been lost.
Katniss agrees to be the Mockingjay figure for the rebellion, but she has demands. She wants to make sure that the other victors who are being held by Capitol are given immunity from their actions of speaking out against the rebellion, and also that her sister can keep her cat. I think this is mostly for comic relief, but those of us who read the book know the cat is a very important part. I’m glad that they actually started to make this cat a part of the story. It only took them until the third film.
People who haven’t read the book will be very excited for the twist that ends part 1 of this film. I don’t want to spoil things that much.
There is mostly exposition throughout most of this film, but also some really good action scenes. It’s the first time we get to see all out war between the Capitol and the rebels.
For those of you who have not seen it or read the book, expect a slow start. The build is well worth it knowing what the conclusion of the film will be.
As far as the acting goes, I felt that Lawrence lacked passion. She hasn’t played Katniss well since the first film in my opinion. What saves her is her supporting cast, who all do a fantastic job. Josh Hutcherson, thought not in most of the film, does a wonderful job of playing a broken Peeta. Once again Donald Sutherland does an awesome job of playing the evil President Snow. Julianne Moore didn’t do a good enough job of making me hate resident Coin, which i did in the book. She’s a politician, and using Katniss. I didn’t get that vibe.
One of my biggest gripes in the book is that they turn Finnick into a broken shell of the strong warrior he was in ‘Catching Fire.” They don’t do it so much in the movie, and I hope the continue with this in the next film. I feel as though his character was forgotten about in the book and so far they are making up for it in the film.
I didn’t love this film as much as the other two, but I would recommend seeing this movie, especially if you’re seen the first two. I am very much looking forward to the conclusion of these films.